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brain dump

extensive notes from the city's public meeting on wireless regulation, policy, etc.

Categories: General

these are notes that I took during the City of Olympia’s public meeting on new wireless planning, policy, etc. I might do a summary of my perceptions of the meeting, or not. I will note that half or more of the dozen attendees were industry representatives.

Susan from CityScape, introduced by Pete Swensson.

Ah, the usual problems with presentation materials! (there’s wifi in the room, but secured, alas.)

master plan vs. policy, or before policy

combine rf engineering, telcom law, planning in one company. Founded right after 1996 act (in 1997)…interesting.

Fluffy timeline of telcom history…and then generations of cell phones (1G ? 4G). those old bulky phone were 800mhz, 2G is 1900mhz. 3G doesn’t seem to be on a different frequency, but (theoretically) uses more bandwidth, so capacity is more important than coverage. What is 4G? GPS, tv, radio, video camera. But that doesn’t sound like a different kind of network, I don’t get the whole ?4G? designation.

Some discussion of how network can be redesigned to accommodate more use.

Q: why does service area shrink when there are more users? She starts off with an electrical metaphor. Built to accommodate a certain number of subscribers with a certain amount of use. Rapid busy signal, call comes in w/out phone ringing, difference in bars depending on time of day. (we’ve experienced all of those, I think)

photos of ground equipment: 800mhz is bulkier (12′x20′), needs space to dissipate heat. 1900Mhz is smaller (3′x6′). Nextel is in 800mhz, but with a different technology. (2 carriers in 800mhz, 3 (or 4?) in 1900mhz)

current space can be reused for other providers, as long as there’s enough physical space, both on tower and on ground.

Q: difference in weight of antennas? Both very light; coax going up to each antenna is the source of most weight.

What’s going to happen next? Acquisition people don’t usually know, they just want sites. CityScape’s role is to help the city come up with its own vision of needs.

Have to look just outside the city, as well. Mapping of how many might be needed in the next 10 years…first: if it were flat to get baseline information. Then put in the terrain: marginal or signal-less areas appear. (800mhz goes 5 mi on flat, 1900mhz 3 mi)

Add the demographic variable (rich neighborhoods vs poor?!), subscriber rate, etc.

1996 act requires complete coverage?

Explication of telcom act of 96: basically, can’t ban the services, favor one provider or another, must act on requests in timely manner, can only deny applications for ?good? reasons. Lighting and rf emissions are exclusively regulated by the feds: can’t deny because you are worried about rf frequency or other health concerns.

Q: how up-to-date are the feds’ surveys? Studies are based on 800/1900, not ionizing so doesn’t affect cell the way microwave would, but TV/radio actually has a higher radiation (or something). What about other effects? Don’t know.

[is that just phones? What about wifi? What are the mhz for wifi?!]

goals: follow the law, provide service, make deployment attractive (height, proliferation, disguise, colocation), insure public health/safety.

Comment: concerns about grandfathering in re: colocation…will all the new equipment end up on the crappy towers we hate now? (that woman from the neighborhood association, which one is that?) master plan is to be an educational tool: what’s there now, to see coverage gaps to know where there will need to facilities in the future. To design them better.

Q: once we have our preferred sites, what happens when a provider comes in and wants to use another site? Then the burden is on them to prove that the other spot is necessary. And apparently providers like it because it makes the process easier and faster.

Q: how does this address the capacity question? (11×17) sheet will have map showing current, future needs, etc. Is data factored into equation? Yes, based on estimates (guess-timates!) from industry. [oh, the industry involvement!] Engineer isn’t here.

Q: …I think it was something about why maximizing public land? More control over placement, concealment techniques.

Q: and revenue streams? Yes, that’s a consideration. Community in Florida, ? of our size generating 2 mil over 10 years. 4 sq miles, $80k year in leases. Can be strong motivation. Typical lease rates will be included with report.

Q: do they get revenue from those leases? No, not in this situation…just paid for the plan.
Pete: being paid a flat rate for helping with plan/ordinance. Neighborhood groups have called for 3rd party review of applications, to evaluate presentations from providers. CityScape is one of those 3rd parties, but there are others, each application would have its own review, from short list of purveyors.

Public lands aren’t the only place this stuff can go.

Comment: policy should minimize conflict of interest.

Q: company qualified to talk about eminent domain to acquire sites? Qualified to do master plan. Acquire property for public purpose, condemnation. They wouldn’t be involved, just helping with plan so citizens/city can make the decisions.

Q: would we be able to eliminate that as an option through the policy? Cell providers are private companies, govts don’t have authority to make gift of public funds or to [missed something], except to help poor/infirm. Probably couldn’t do that then, because it would be considered a private purpose, but could for a public purpose: parks, schools (?), water towers, fire stations, etc. [what about for public wll?] don’t see that as something that would go into this, but would be zoning discussion, ongoing policy.

Q; resolving conflicts re: ideal sites? Will advocate hierarchy: first choice, 2nd choice, etc.

Pete pushed her back into the presentation.

[aside from C re: lattice towers could be made out of bamboo! My response: or grow clematis up them!]

concealed monopole towers are SO dorky looking.

5 in 1900mhz.

Tall tower means more colocation, short towers mean more towers (can be clusters). A values choice. Industry says lower towers will mean slower deployment.

Ah, design choices. Matching the tower to the character of the neighborhood.

Low-profile antennas are less visually obtrusive, but don’t always meet provider network goals, tilt, etc.

section 704 of telcom act (relevant section)

is it favoring to require vaulting of ground equipment?

State has standards re : use of right-of-way. WA has most effective use of ROW of anyplace she’s seen. Sometimes ground equipment can be mounted aboveground if there isn’t enough space.

Annarondale (sp?) case re: issues with frequency interference. (hm.)

All of these hiding techniques are kinda cheesy, although I’m fond of the super-tall clock towers.

Crux of ordinance is hierarchy of types of facilities plus the zoning chart. Hierarchy usually takes the most time. [kinda like getting the levels set in webadmin]

quickest review to installations that meet preferred guidelines.

Q: thought that big towers wouldn’t be an issue anymore because equipment would be small enough to be mounted on phone poles, etc. elevation is too important, poles aren’t high enough.

Q (me): does this include wifi/wimax? generally they only include things covered by 704, which doesn’t include wifi/wimax, have only included that when asked, only one so far is SeaTac.

Q: is there a cumulative effect of wattage with more channels? Yes, most effect is with rooftop installations; reduces with towers, because you get farther away from the actually anntennae. OSHA has standards re:RF for sites. Wattage is usually in dozens, not thousands, usually below 5k/10k threshold.

(almost out of battery!)

next step.

People from industry (entire row behind us): want stuff from them: attenna locations.

[need to get more citizens here!!!!]

draft plan in July, presentation in August showing locations, policy options. Will be getting preferences.

Comment feed

4 Responses to “brain dump”

  1. ralph says:

    Wi-Fi (specifically 802.11b and 802.11g) are at 2400 MHz.

    802.11a is up around 5000 MHz.

  2. Elaine says:

    Thanks…sometimes I remember those sorts of details, sometimes I don’t. :)

  3. Duke Newcomb says:

    They can put some antennaes on my lot. I’m right next to the freeway. Who should I contact to get some towers installed?

  4. Elaine says:

    There’s a moratorium on now, but you might want to keep an eye out for public forums and such.